Lady with Progeria who looks decades older than her 30 years, because of a rare genetic disorder characterized by premature aging, and was told that it would be a ‘miracle’ if she lived past her teens, has shared her story.
Challi Mguura and her husband
A newlywed ageing at twice the normal rate is refusing to let her condition slow her down, and at 30-years-old, Challi Muguira is one of the oldest surviving people with progeria in the world, Dailymail UK reports.
Progeria is a rare genetic disorder characterised by premature aging, growth delay, short stature, small face and hair loss.
Challi, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has a rare form, was told that it would be a ‘miracle’ if she lived past her teens.
But she has defied expectations to celebrate her 30th birthday, and after finding happiness with her now husband Tony, who she met on a dating site, and who is legally blind, Challi has vowed to live every day to the full.
Her form of progeria is different from the classic form and she does not age at quite the same rate, but is still mistaken for someone who is decades older.
Challi told Barcroft TV: ‘I like being different. It’s affected my life in more of a positive way and I want to help people, especially kids like me.’
Progeria is a rare aging disorder and children that have it normally pass away by the time they are 10 to 15.
‘I have a very moderate case but I was told at a very early age that it would be a miracle if I would live to be 30 years old, so I am obviously doing well, compared to what I thought… I am not aging as fast.
‘I do have the features of someone who has progeria – I have very prominent eyes, very thin nose, very thin hair and you can tell by looking at me that I don’t look 30.’
Challi first showed signs of the condition at just two-years-old when she fell off of her bicycle and her mother realised her fingers had started to club.
She was taken to the the doctors, but it would be another 14 years before Challi was given the diagnosis of progeria.
She said: ‘The diagnosis itself [involved] lots of doctors’ offices. Eventually one doctor sent us to a children’s hospital and from there I got a very good doctor.
‘He had one of his classes do a study on just me and the class were actually the ones who diagnosed me. There are a lot of things that you learn about yourself during the process.
‘At 16 years old you don’t want to hear that you are aging faster but I learned a lot. There are things that you kind of have to accept and I had amazing doctors along the way.’
The newlywed found it difficult to accept her appearance at first, but later used it to her advantage to get served alcohol when she was 18 – below the legal age limit.
Challi said: ‘It’s hard when you’re 15-years-old and people think you’re 30, that was rough. Even when I was younger people would think I was 21, I was only 18, I could drink at an early age, it was fun – it came in handy.’
However, she also found herself being targeted by bullies at school for her appearance. She said: ‘I got teased so bad in middle school. High school wasn’t as bad, I had a very wide group of friends.
Actually a lot of those kids who teased me later on in life came back and told me that they were sorry as adults. That did mean a lot, there is one in particular I will never forget, who told me that he was sorry and that really meant the world to me.’
After Challi left school, she finally found someone she could truly connect with romantically, her now-husband Tony.
She explained: ‘Tony and I met on a dating site. I liked talking to him, I enjoyed it and I like that fact that when you talk to somebody like that, they can’t judge you based on what you really look like. They are only judging the person they get to know.
‘I think I loved him the moment I met him. I knew from way in the beginning that I wanted a life with him.’